Your new car buying checklist

Heading to a dealer to snap up a new '62-plate' car this September? Les Roberts has some timely advice to help you get the car you want at the best possible price.

Les Roberts: Buying a new car is a major financial commitment and it makes sense to think things through before you sign on the dealership’s dotted line.

So, here are some things to consider to help you get the right vehicle at the right price…

Don’t just look at things like alloy wheels and pearlescent paint, you should factor in the basics such as fuel type and consumption, seating configuration, luggage capacity and overall performance.

Road tax and insurance costs should also be high up the list – there’s no point having a great car if you can’t afford to keep it on the road!

There are 50 car insurance groups and you can check which one a vehicle belongs to at www.thatcham.org - the higher the group, the higher the premium.

You could find that the dealer or manufacturer will offer to quote you for cover, but bear in mind that prices are usually much steeper than what you’d pay if you compared car insurance with MoneySupermarket.

When it comes to road tax, fuel types and CO2 emissions will be taken into account, the details on pricing bands are at www.direct.gov.uk

As well as the running costs, there’s also the small matter of the purchase price to consider. It’s worth checking online to get the best price on any given vehicle and then go to the local dealerships armed with the figures.

Be prepared to negotiate! Consider that the forecourt price has probably been inflated to give the salesman a bit of wriggle room. It’s now a buyers’ market, garages need your business and so you could be able to cut down the windscreen price.

It may also pay to wait. March and September are the boom months so you may find that buying outside of these months could see your haggling work better.

If you’re thinking about a finance deal, check what's available in the personal loans market as now is a good time to borrow, personal loan rates starting below 6% on borrowing between £7,500 and £15,000.

Finally, if you’re trading in your old car make sure it is fairly valued, and that you’re not just getting a good price because you are being charged at the top end for your new one.

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